Beware: When you fling open the door of Abundance Bakery, the awesome smell of glaze and frosting will force you into confectionary bliss. Step into the small shop and you will find yourself going eenie-meenie-miney-mo with which shall I go? It’s all a yes: the glaze donuts, velvet cake, fudge brownies or caramel upsidedown cupcakes. And if that doesn’t send you into olfactory overdrive, consider the cookies and other treats.
William “Bill” Ball has been baking to-die-for desserts for decades. His Abundance Bakery, in the heart of the Bronzeville community at 47th Street and Michigan Avenue, is easily missed, sandwiched between two other businesses on the block. But once you find it you never forget – the location or the tasty experience.
Ball got into baking after being laid off from a sales job. He fell back on what he had experienced as a child tugging at his mother’s apron in the kitchen: baking.
He created a brand for his products – which are also available in as many as five local restaurants – called Uncle Villy. The name was strategic.
“I didn’t want to be ‘Uncle Billy,’ the confection master explained.
“There is a thousand brands called ‘Uncle Billy.’”
The bakery’s latest featured item is a cupcake dripping with gooey – delicious – homemade caramel-tasting frosting that he admits his wife came up with. But whoever the creator, it is definitely one of the bakery’s must-tries.
Abundance Bakery is in no way short on the things we crave most: butter and sugar.
Ball warns that his “snacks” are not for the dietary faint at heart.
“We try to pay attention to detail,” he said. And the proof is in the customers who travel from all over the city and suburbs to get peach cobbler, fritters and other treats.
Ball includes among his customers former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He also crafted birthday cakes for the Obama girls – before they changed their address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
But he and his wife are a mainstay in community.
“We wanted to have a grassroots business,” he said. “And we know everybody here anyway.”
It’s hardly a secret around parts of town that Abundance Baker is one of the city’s top bakeries.
And Ball said there is little secret about his success.
“You gotta make things good, that’s all,” he said.